The main push for this build has been stability, performance and overall user experience improvements. We have been doing a LOT of testing and enjoying every minute of it!
Well what can we say… its been way to long since the last public build and we apologize. There have been numerous private testing builds with the Operator Edition owners and they have provided tons of information on fixing bugs and provided suggestions on improving the game. It also made us realize that the internals of the game have reached a point where we need to refine our process a bit to better accommodate faster/cleaner iteration that allows us to get public builds out faster and with much less work on our end. We have taken care of that, but in the mean time WE HAVE A NEW BUILD!!!!!
I know its been a while since the last build so we wanted to let you know that a new one is coming next week. We have been testing it for a few days, but still have a few more issues to iron out. There are many bug fixes, updated A.I., an initial version of Terrorist Hunt on the Depot map, sound fixes and animation updates.
Here are a few user videos from our testing builds to tide you over:
A new build of Ground Branch is here and it is gigantic! Partly due to the move to engine version 4.11 and partly due to us just being stubborn and wanting to get things working right before releasing, we went way to long in between builds as well as the first go at a Terrorist Hunt mode with A.I.! The result is this one is packed with a ton of changes and its hard to do this news post without it being a wall of text. So here is the condensed version, with all the fine details at the end……..
As expected, there are some issues cropping up with this initial build that we are working to get fixed. Some may have difficulty connecting to servers or may have an issue with item selections in the Operator menu saving. We knew that opening things up to a larger audience would expose problems we didn’t anticipate so please be patient as we get these problems fixed and an update out in the next day or two. We want to make sure we don’t break more than we fix. 🙂
Steam keys for those that supported development by purchasing Pre-Order keys should be seeing an email with their keys(s) in them. The automated process is sending them a bit slow so give it an hour or two to make sure it makes it. Also, if you don’t see it make sure to check your spam folder as well. If you purchased a Pre-Order key and an email does not show up in the next 12 hours then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it sorted out. Please be patient over the next few days as we get things setup in the forum and our build update information sorted. We are also going to be bringing a couple more BFS servers online as well in addition to the one we currently have running. Anyone with the build can run a dedicated server so feel free to start your own!
I’m sure all of you will have lots of questions as well so feel free to ask away in our forums. There are plenty of people that have been playing the Operator Edition builds for a while now and have a good grasp on how things work.Here is a good Quick Start guide to help you get going: http://www.blackfootstudios.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=8445&#entry155268
The online store is also setup to use our new provider and should deliver a license key upon purchase by email. So if you purchase a Pre-Order from now forward you won’t need to wait for a key.
We hope you enjoy this early look at things while we move towards our Early Access release. Also, please be fully aware of the current state of the project and that not all of the features that will be in the Early Access are in yet. With so many new people using builds now we fully anticipate some initial issues for the first week or so. There will be lots of additions and revisions over the next couple of months to get us there.
A quick note to let you know that tomorrow (03/25), we will start to send out Steam license keys for those that have supported our crowd funding with buying Pre-Orders. They will go out by email so keep an eye on your spam folders just in case. It will be mentioned a few more times, but be aware that we are not to Early Access yet and the builds are still missing some key features that will be present in the Early Access release. Think of the current state being Early Access Alpha. 🙂
Also, at some point in the next 24-48 hours we will be switching the Pre-Order process over to a new storefront provider that will allows license keys to be distributed at time of purchase (in an email) as well as hopefully provide a smoother buying experience for those that have had issues completing transactions with the current provider.
I’m sure there will be bumps along the way, but bare with us and hopefully things will go relatively smooth.
Its time for an update on our progress!
Things are going very well with many new features added and stability getting better with each new build. We just introduced the first pass at 3d positional/proximity VOIP that allows players to talk globally so everyone can hear if within appropriate distance as well as a radio channel that allows teams to communicate when out of hearing range. There have been lots of UI additions and fixes including the ability to change a full array of graphics settings to help fine tune performance. Networking and multiplayer has been getting a lot of work and is pretty stable at this point. Multiplayer matches now feature a full game loop (minus an after action review screen… that is coming) so players are enjoying playing Ground Branch with others and are starting to really see the potential of the game!
So when is the Early Access? Well we still have not set a firm date because we must get it right. There is only one chance for a first impression! We don’t feel it is to far off though, so we have decided to distribute Steam keys to those that have and will purchase the Pre-Order of Ground Branch. This will happen within the next 2-3 weeks and you will get an email with instructions. As mentioned, the game is not ready for Early Access and therefore still missing some key components, but we feel there is enough there to include more people in the process. Once we send these keys out then any Pre-Order purchases from that point on will automatically get a key upon purchase… no more waiting.
Those that purchased the Operator Edition have been enjoying playing Ground Branch for months now and have provided valuable feedback and bug reports. Here are a couple videos and some screenshots from a recent playtest…. thanks to Pepperbelly, WaderTheGamer, Jeza, jankovic and those playing.
Still VERY much pre-alpha but enjoy!